Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Tao of Starting a Practice.....

Starting a practice is not easy, and as a series of very realistic posts over at The Independent Urologist demonstrate, there's a lot of new understanding required to achieve success in private solo practice.

Besides understanding cold-hard numbers and facts, I've found that a little Tao can go a long way towards helping a young practice grow. Just like a small shrub in the forest, there are plenty of reasons for a small practice to fail to thrive, including getting trampled by the competition. However, with a little positive reinforcement, the small practice will grow into something you can really come to enjoy. The first few months are primarily a mental challenge in strength, resilience, and confidence, with doubt, weakness of resolve, and the inability to pick yourself up again when you think you've failed being the enemies of success. Nobody's ever made it who hasn't stumbled on their own footsteps multiple times. Things won't be perfect, but they'll be your own. There's nothing that can replace being at the helm.

So here are my little Tao principles for making the practice work:

1) When the phone is not ringing, organize your desk.
Transform your anxiety into a positive action. Organize your contacts. Call them. Reach out. Go to networking functions. Don't just sit there. Send your established patients a newsletter. Or even a thank you for being your patient. Get organized, and that phone will start ringing again!

2) When your weekly numbers drop, let go of controlling your practice.

I've found this to be true from the beginning. There's an energetic loop with the flow of patients. The more you want to control your weekly numbers the more they bend away from you. Yes, I know this goes against the mathematical explanation of regression to the mean, but this is the Tao of practice. Your mental state will influence your outcomes.

3) When the checks slow down, visualize the free and easy flow of money.
A little Tao dictates substituting negative thoughts with positive visualizations. The more one hords one's money, the more one constrains it. If no one spent any money, then there would be no economy. It's the flow that keeps things moving. Getting into the mindset of the flow frees you from the constraints of counting the daily numbers. Things always balance out somehow.

4) When you can't sleep at night because of worry, breathe out the worry and breathe in visions of success.
Success is already around the corner. It's out there for the grabbing, but spending too much time worrying is going to alter what you do for your success. A little worrying is ok, if it motivates you to action. But too much worry is an energy drain that does not benefit your practice. So breathe out those worries, and breathe in your success.

5) When your practice doesn't feel ideal anymore, find your center.
It's when you are centered that you truly know what your ideal practice is. If you've strayed from this point, don't fret about it, just find your center again. Write about your practice -- how it is, and how you want it to be. Just write. You don't have to have the answers right away. Writing this out, your subconscious will start working on those answers that will wake you up in the middle of the night with a "Eureka!"

6) And finally, the ultimate Tao: Keep yourself healthy and balanced.
Keeping yourself healthy and balanced, will keep your practice healthy and balanced. Many doctors sacrifice their own health in service for others. Although altruistic, eventually this will catch up with them. A significant portion of doctors suffer from depression or substance abuse. So take time to keep a healthy mind in a healthy body. Meditate. Exercise. Eat heathily. Keep your system clean. Plan Spring and Fall detox diets. Keeping yourself balanced will make you a better doctor. If you have extra free time because your numbers are not up yet in the early years, don't fret about that either, go to the gym or spend extra time with your family and friends. Enjoy the ebb and flow of life.


Blogger The Independent Urologist said...

I love it. Great post and could not agree more, despite my mathematical seeming approach.

1:39 PM EST  
Blogger Medicine Man said...

The mathematical approach is good, too.

12:07 AM EST  

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